The Contact Organization for Muslims and Government (CMO) has emphatically requested the Mayor of the Dutch city of Gouda Milo Schoenmaker to forbid a demonstration by the extreme right organization Pro Patria (English: For the Fatherland). The CMO stated it has received many phone calls by concerned Muslims. Spokesperson Yassin Elforkani said a counter-demonstration was also planned.
Mayor Milo Schoenmaker has decided to allow the Pro Patria demonstration. The extreme right organization stated it is combating Muslim extremist through these demonstrations.
“After the announcement that the demonstration will take place we received a lot of phone calls from Muslims who fear an escalation will take place. I’ve already seen a flyer with a call for a counter-demonstration,” Elforkani said. “It might also be that the action group Identitair Verzet (English: Indentitary Resistance) will take part in the demonstration. The activists belonging to this extreme right group occupied a Dutch mosque earlier this month (http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/moslimorganisaties-bang-na-bezette-moskee-leiden~a3847209/).
“We are very much for the freedom of expression but we are worries about the societal tensions. Therefore we ask the Mayor to take his responsibility,” the spokesperson said. The municipality has announced it is waiting for an official request by the CMO.
After members of the extreme-right group Identitair Verzet [Identitair Resistance] shortly occupied the Al Hijra mosque in the city of Leiden, the Contact Body Muslims and Government (CMO) is afraid for an escalation of anti-Muslim violence.
CMO, representing 80% of the Dutch mosques takes the incident very serious, says spokesperson Yassin Elforkani. There have been incidents before, but this was the first time that an action was committed and coordinated by a ideological driven group. There are moreover signs that more actions will follow.
Dutch Vice-Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher and Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten conducted a meeting on 9 January with representatives from various Muslim communities. The Contact Organization for Muslims and State (CMO), the Council of Dutch Moroccan Mosques (RMMN), the Co-determination Organization of Turks (IOT), and the Dutch Corporation for Refugees (VON) have attended the meeting. The immediate cause of the meeting was the posed threat to Dutch mosques, which has become even more urgent due to current developments.
The attack in France led to feelings of abhorrence and dismay. This was widely expressed during the meeting. There was mutual appreciation of the warm responses and expressions of solidarity from society. However at the same time concern was expressed over the rising tensions caused by the Paris assault, the incidents in Sweden and the anti-Islam demonstrations in surrounding countries.
Due to the increase of incidents against mosques in the Netherlands an appeal was made for an increased attention for Muslim hatred. Concrete agreements were made to improve the registration of acts of Muslim hatred. The Dutch cabinet has expressed their commitment to vigilantly observe the security conditions and, of necessary, take additional protection measures.
Contact Institution Muslims and Government (CMO) is ‘shocked’ by the results of a research done by Motivaction, according to which 80% of Turkish youth don’t disagree with using jihad-inspired violence against people from a different faith. 300 Turkish and 400 Moroccan youth between 18 and 34 participated in the research.
CMO wants to discuss the results with minister of Social Affairs and Employment and vice premier Asscher. But they also state that the research lacks some nuances.
Politicians have also reacted on the results. Geert Wilders’ Party for the Freedom (PVV) want a debate on integration policies with Asscher. Wilders himself sees his ideas about the huge amount of support among Muslims in the Netherlands for jihadis in Syria confirmed.
According to Pieter Heerma, member of Christian Democratic Appel (CDA) this sympathie for IS and jihadis could be undermining for the (Dutch) rule of law. His party also wants the glorification of violence to be penalized.
Asscher wants to speak with Turkish youth themselves and Turkish organizations.
According to Contact Institution Muslims and Government (CMO), mosques need to provide more support to families of people going to Syria and Iraq. These people are in need of contact with people going through the same situation and also practical support, which they both don’t get from Islamic communities.
Yassin Elforkani, who is working for CMO, responds to the plan of establishing a support centre for families of jihadis’ (see: ‘Support centre for families of jihadis’), saying that this plan can only be successful when there is a ‘bond of trust’, since parents shouldn’t be afraid that their information will be handed over to the police, for instance.
Ineke van der Valk (University of Amsterdam) investigated acts of violence against Muslims and mosques. Two/third of the mosques she questioned have experience some sort of act of violence: the breaking of windows, arson and there were also mosques that found a dead sheep or pig near their mosque.
90% of the mosques went to the police. However in the majority of cases the police ‘didn’t do anything’ and two/third of the perpetrators were never found.
Most of the mosques keep quiet about the incidents in the media, because they are afraid of invoking even more aggression.
CMO (Contact Institution Muslims and Government) pleads for an Islamophobia-register. According to mosques organizations the Islamic communities don’t believe that their reports about the ‘incidents’ are taken seriously by the police.
The Party for the Animals has proposed not to slaughter sheep the fourth of October, when Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha and it is also Animal’s Day. Not everyone agrees: “Why are only Muslims being addressed?
Marianne Thieme (Party for the Animals) states that they don’t want to insult the religious tradition. But according to inspections, animals won’t be slaughtered individually and there won’t be time to sharpen the knifes in between. They therefore propose to give money, instead of slaughtering an animal.
Sandra van de Werd, spokesperson for three animal-organizations had contacted CMO (Contact device Muslims and Government) about the issue. According to CMO giving money is an important part of the fest, but offering an animal too.
Ibrahim Wijbenga, chairman of the Judea-Islamic Platform says it should be better to look at the bio-industry first.
The Animal Protection (dierenbescherming) was not involved in the proposals. “We don’t ask other slaughterhouses to quit for a day.”
Dutch Protestants and Muslims have joined in preparing a joint statement criticizing the yet-to-be-released film by Geert Wilders. The Protestant Church and two umbrella organizations of the Muslim community in the Netherlands (CGI/Contact Group Muslims and Government CMO) have committed to the joint statement. “Although our freedom of speech allows the publication of this film, we consider such provocation undesirable… (it is) reprehensible if the sacred (elements) in our religions are ridiculed and our faith offended. We therefore forcefully reject it if the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed are treated with contempt and slandered.”
Dutch Muslims have criticised a government proposal to ban women from wearing the burqa or veils which cover the face in public places. Dutch Muslim groups say a ban would make the country’s one million Muslims feel victimised and alienated. The Dutch cabinet said burqas – a full body covering that also obscures the face – disturb public order and safety. The proposed ban would apply to wearing the burqa in the street, and in trains, schools, buses and law courts in the Netherlands. Other forms of face coverings, such as veils, and crash helmets with visors that obscure the face, would also be covered by a ban. Critics of the proposed ban say it would violate civil rights. The main Muslim organisation in the Netherlands, CMO, said the plan was an “over-reaction to a very marginal problem.”